JAMES MORROW: Locked Down Downunder: Do Australia’s leaders really know what they’re doing?
The question thus becomes, both for those of us trapped here in Ozcatraz as well as bemused outside onlookers, how did a free and easy land of opportunity become gripped by a neurotic covid puritanism that truly believes any sort of fun or joy or sociability is deadly, and a place where protesters and cops are having pitched battles in the street over mandatory vaccinations?
If you don’t believe me, consider that in Melbourne — ground zero for Australia’s covid madness, the city just crossed the line to become the most locked-down city in the world — the state premier ordered playgrounds shut and had concrete bollards hoisted into skate parks to stop kids from riding their bikes. . . .
What makes it most bizarre is that even the state’s health minister recently admitted outdoors was the safest place to be and everyone understands that the mask rule was imposed largely to shut up a depressingly totalitarian press gallery that wasn’t going to shut up until everyone was welded into their homes Wuhan-style. . . .
This was, incidentally, a wonderful example of the serious class overtones of how the pandemic has played out in Australia, a country that has for decades kidded itself that it was a classless society where Jack was as good as his master. Here as elsewhere it has always been about the “Zoom” classes paying public fealty to the new priestly class of health experts and lording it over those who can’t work from home yet who are the ones who really keep society moving. On the third day of protests in Melbourne, video emerged on Twitter of Zoomerati-caste residents of fancy apartment towers cheering on the cops from their balconies as they chased down protesters firing “non-lethal rounds” and tear gas. One can only hope they get the social credit points they deserve for their enthusiasm.
We’ve been told for decades that the press is a key element in preserving freedom, but it always seems to be cheering on — and outright demanding — that the government supervise people ever more closely. And we’ve been told that the real threat to freedom is the unwashed masses, when it’s the upper-middle classes that seem most enthusiastic about extending the rules.